Gamers love to whine about microtransactions, but unfortunately, they aren’t going away any time soon. For some inexplicable reason, people keep paying out the nose for them.
EA’s latest earnings report has made this fact painfully clear. According to a digital net bookings chart, which breaks down revenue streams such as live services (i.e., microtransactions), the publisher made a whopping $993 million on MTX alone during the holiday quarter. In comparison, game downloads and mobile made just $317 and $134 million, respectively.
It gets even crazier when you look at EA’s earnings over the entire year. In the last 12 months, the publisher made $2.835 billion off of microtransactions, a 27 percent increase from last year ($2,241 billion). That’s a ridiculous amount of cosmetics, power boosts, and whatever else players are getting suckered into nowadays.
Most of the profit is actually coming from EA’s sports games, such as Madden and FIFA. These include an “Ultimate Team” mode, which encourages gamers to spend money on player packs so they can assemble the perfect team.
Over the last few years, regulators have gone on a crusade against loot boxes and other types of microtransactions for their role in addiction and gambling. EA has strongly opposed these efforts, and it’s not a surprise as to why.